June 4 Weekly Open Thread: The Stick Shift Edition
I'm guessing that there is a sharp divide among those reading this as to what is meant by those two simple words. If you're over a certain age, you probably thought "manual"; a bit younger and "automatic" popped into your head. Used to be that an automatic transmission was an option that many people did without because it was fairly pricey and was generally associated with more upscale cars. You got the manual as "standard" and upgraded if you could afford it; otherwise 'Four on the floor' or 'Three on the tree' were de rigueur in most American households.
Nowadays, many can't drive a manual at all. Me, I learned to drive on an automatic, and my family had automatics nearly my entire childhood, the one exception striking me as rather exotic. I ended up learning to drive a stick on a 1959 Ford F600 fire truck (probably not the best vehicle for that, as I got used to dealing with 500 gallons of inertia to play around with) and only drove a Three-on-a-tree once (and that was enough, thankyouverymuch). The Spousal Unit didn't know how to drive one when we bought her Civic, but she gamely learned and ended up getting 40+ mpgs commuting.
Recently, quite a few articles have appeared proclaiming the death of the manual (e.g., here, here, and here), but at least one other (whence comes the photo) suggests that reports of its death may have been somewhat exaggerated. So we here at Car Lust thought we'd take this opportunity to throw it out there for readers to opine on: Do you drive a manual? Do you even know how? Will you buy one again? We'll also have a special post coming up tomorrow dealing further with this very important automotive topic.
As always, feel free to discuss anything else Car Lust related that strikes your collective fancies.